Then and now

New Mount grads reflect on their college careers
May 24, 2017

Members of Mount Saint Mary College’s Class of 2017 were overjoyed to receive their diplomas at the 54th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20, after years of dedicated study.

But as the new grads planned for their futures, they hadn’t forgotten that sunny Hudson Valley day – Saturday, August 24, 2013 – when they first moved into their residence halls. Their time at the Mount, they say, has molded them into confident professionals, ready for the challenges of the workforce.


Olivia Bogle of Pine Bush, N.Y. – Psychology

Then an Now


In August 2013, Olivia Bogle lugged food, clothing, and her trusty guitar up the stairs to her new dorm in Sakac Hall.

Since that day, she’s been on the Dean’s List many times, earned the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award, presented to her peers on a variety of subjects both academic and social, and taught elementary school students the basics of psychology through assistant professor Yasmine Kalkstein’s Beginnings in Psychological Science program.

“I’ve become much more confident in my ability,” she said. “At this college, we accept everyone for who they are and allow them to really grow. I’ve accomplished that and I’m ready to go out into the world.”

She credited professors Kalkstein, Paul Schwartz (psychology), and Jane Gangi (education) with helping to shape her into the pre-professional she is today.

As she prepares to study law in graduate school, Bogle recently accepted a job in Orange Regional Medical Center’s legal department.

Bogle started her Mount journey as a history/political science major, but soon switched to psychology. However, something that hasn’t changed since Move-in Day is her love of playing the guitar.

“It stayed with me all four years,” she explained, “and I’m happy I still have it.”


Meghan Hartnett of Milford, Pa. – Technology/Digital Media

Then an Now


When Meghan Hartnett arrived at Mount Saint Mary College in August of 2013, she was a little shy and a tad reserved.

Four years and at least five theater productions later, Hartnett excels in public speaking and the performance arts.

She gives much of the credit to James Phillips, associate professor of theatre, for helping to pull her out of her shell.

“I learned how to be more personable and more caring,” she said. “I’ve become a better actor and a friendlier person.”

Hartnett hopes to meld her training in technology and digital media with her enhanced public speaking skills to forge a voice acting career.


Tamryn Mistretta of Paramus, N.J. – Nursing

Then an Now


Family has always been an important part of Tamryn Mistretta’s life. On the day Mistretta moved in to her Mount Saint Mary College residence hall, her mother and father were there alongside her, helping to unpack and prepare for her first day of college classes.

Four years later, Mistretta’s parents were honored to present her with a nursing pin at the college’s annual pinning ceremony. The event symbolized both Mistretta’s transition from student to professional, as well has her unwavering devotion to her family.

“I dedicate this pin to my mom and dad,” Mistretta said. “You have done so much for me and always with such love. I am so proud to be receiving my nursing degree with you both here with me.”

The day before commencement, Mistretta reflected on why she had chosen Mount Saint Mary College.

“It’s a really close-knit community with a beautiful view,” she explained. “All of our professors know our names and really care about us.”

She added, “Four years ago, this day seemed so far away, and now we’re here. I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved.”


Stephan Sookdeo of Carmel, N.Y. – Business Management/Administration

Then an Now


As Stephan Sookdeo carried suitcases, boxes, and bags up to his new dorm in Sakac Hall on Move-in Day 2013, he couldn’t help but think about his future. What kind of friends would he make? What study techniques should he use? What challenges would the next four years bring?

The future was still on his mind as he headed across the Mount Saint Mary College commencement stage on May 20, receiving his degree from Dr. David Kennett, Mount president.

But instead of planning his path through college, Sookdeo, a recipient of the Senior Class Award for Outstanding Leadership, was considering the next chapter of his life, with his success at the Mount to help guide him.


Daria Sullivan of Sparta, N.J. – Psychology

Then an Now


While she unpacked her things in her new dorm four years ago, Daria Sullivan wondered what kind of people she would meet and which service programs she might join at Mount Saint Mary College.

The day before graduation, she reflected on the confident pre-professional she has become.

“When I came here, I thought this was going to be just a regular college experience, but it was so much more than that,” explained Sullivan. “The Mount really changed me as a student and as a person. I’ve become much more of a leader.”

Sullivan, a Leadership Scholar, recently gave her original talk “The Psychology of a Vulnerable Leader” to a packed audience of Mount students and staff members. The presentation had its roots in the college’s Beginnings in Psychological Science (BiPS) program, in which Mount students teach elementary school children the basics of psychology. After joining BiPS in 2014 as in intern and completing her service, Sullivan continued on as a volunteer and was quickly promoted to student director of the program.

On June 1, Sullivan will begin her job as a behavioral assistant at Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) of Sparta, N.J. Sullivan recently interned at YAP through the Mount’s Career Center, opening the door to the employment offer. She thanked the Career Center’s Robin Rosenberg, coordinator of co-ops and internships, for her aid in the process.

While she works, Sullivan will seek a master’s degree at Pace University’s Counseling Center.

When she received her diploma on May 20, Sullivan said she was proud to continue a family legacy: her aunt graduated from the Mount as well, in 1980.

“These last four years have been incredible,” she added.